Merry Christmas to All!
The annual Christmas column: Track Santa, track your packages, listen to holiday tracks. Enjoy your Christmas!
When I wrote my first Christmas column several years ago, the NORAD Tracks Santa website, here: http://www.noradsanta.org/ was the only way to track Santa online. The site is still going strong and attracts a huge following as Christmas Eve approaches. You’ll find games, music, videos, and the story of how NORAD started tracking Santa (more here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NORAD_Tracks_Santa) on the site. The really fun stuff happens Christmas Eve as you watch Santa’s progress. They have a Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/noradsanta) and a Twitter feed (https://twitter.com/NoradSanta). They have apps for your Apple products and your Android phones and tablets.
The site used Google Maps and Google Earth to track Santa, but in 2007 without much fanfare, an Internet Explorer icon appeared on the site, and everything now is powered by Microsoft’s Bing search and maps. NORAD Tracks Santa is still a stunning technical accomplishment and still fun for kids and grownups. But now there’s competition from…Google.
Google Santa Tracker (http://www.google.com/santatracker/#) has a cartoonier look and feel, at least in the days leading up to Christmas (I am writing this before Christmas!) You’ll find games on the front page and behind an Advent Calendar. The games have music. (Hint for grownups: Click on the speaker icon in the bottom right hand corner of the screen to turn off the music. You’re welcome.) There’s a Google Santa Tracker app for Android (no surprise there) but I wasn’t able to find one for iOS. Interesting. You’ll find the Google Santa Tracker on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Google-Santa-Tracker/460996160627423).
Are you having things sent somewhere? Are you expecting a package? Which carriers are you using? Where is your stuff?
Wouldn’t it be great if you could track all your incoming and outgoing shipments there, regardless of what company is shipping them, on just one website? Wouldn’t it be great if that site also worked really well on a smartphone?
If that sounds awesome, try PackageTrackr (http://www.packagetrackr.com/ ). It does all of that. It does all of that well, and it does a whole lot of other things too. You can set up email and/or text alerts. If you’re into RSS feeds, you’ll love PackageTrackr’s. The site is easy to navigate. I’ve been using it to track all our business-related shipments for a year or so.
Track down some good Christmas music
What’s your favourite site for streaming online music? TuneIn Radio? Rdio? Accuradio? If you’re lucky enough to live in a country where you can get Spotify and Pandora, maybe it’s one of those. Now that you’ve got your Christmas technology under control (http://rlis.com/columns/column435.htm) you can relax and enjoy the music of the season.
That first Christmas column I wrote years ago mentioned Accuradio as a good source for streaming Christmas music, and it’s still my go-to Christmas music site. Accuradio (http://www.accuradio.com/#!/home/accuholidays/) offers fifteen or so Christmas “channels” that you can play, mix, or ignore completely.
Do you like Celtic music? Pick the Celtic Christmas channel. Country? They’ve got that, too. How about the channel devoted to songs that start with O? They’ve got that. Listen to “O Tannenbaum”, “O Holy Night”, and “O Come All Ye Faithful” and, I suppose, more. Listen to Jazz, vocal, choral, instrumental, Latin, R&B. Listen to some of everything or create your own mix. You can skip tunes, like tunes, and share what you’re listening to with your social media buddies (only if you want to).
You’ll get a commercial now and then. That’s because nothing is free; most things are ad-supported or paid subscription. I’m listening to the “Listener’s Top 100” right now, and it’s Sinatra singing “Jingle Bells.” Really. What’s not to like?
Merry Christmas to you and yours!
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